Discovery of little-known iPhone data leads to acquittal

June 16, 2023

John Lyons has acted for the defence of an ex-soldier accused of rape in Reading Crown Court.

The complainant claimed that in 2018 the defendant had parked his car and the two of them had walked along a footpath to a specific location in a secluded field where the rape occurred. Afterwards the complainant alleged they had returned to the parked car. The defendant flatly denied the incident had ever occurred.

Almost two years later the defendant was arrested and his iPhone was seized. After the complainant had given evidence, Counsel was eventually permitted to inspect all the phone’s data for the day in question.

Most practitioners are unaware that the Apple iPhone uses GPS and an accelerometer to store data about distances walked and heights climbed over relatively short periods (often less than an hour).

The defence were able to plot the claimed route using OS Maps software. This showed the distance of the alleged walk (far more accurately than Google Maps) and the total increases in height.

When compared to the iPhone health data, it immediately became apparent that the complainant’s account was wholly inaccurate with the distance travelled, the timings and the increased elevations out of sync with the evidence collated via the iPhone data.

At the end of an 8-day trial the jury retired for 90 minutes before acquitting John’s client on all four counts.

John is an experienced senior junior who is skilled in the analysis of large scale financial and communications data in preparing defences in frauds and serious crime. He has trained lawyers in the advanced use of Excel to analyse complex data. He is adept at using sophisticated trial software to analyse and present evidence. Read more: [John Lyons Profile ]

John was instructed for the defence by Andrew Storch Solicitors.